If you grew up on a diet of Rocky, Terminator and Die Hard, then I’m pretty sure this is a movie that you’re bound to enjoy. (Ask not what your action hero can do for you; but what you can do for your action hero). Not least because you won’t let minor details such as: unoriginal plot and dialog so corny you can almost hear it pop, spoil your entertainment. (You should be a 3rd Dan in suspension of disbelief at this point).
I’m happy to raise my hand, from the back of the class and say that I fall into that category and I thoroughly enjoyed The Expendables 2. But even if you’re unfamiliar with the aforementioned franchises, and indeed the whole Action Hero genre, it’s never too late to learn young padawan.
Give ya brain a rest, pop a ring-pull and strap in for some retro-action at it’s finest. Granted it’s all a loud of sloblock, but it’s also most excellent fun. (Just make sure you don’t choke on your beer, whilst your tongue is stuck firmly in your cheek. And remember kids: drinking ain’t big and it ain’t clever). If you enjoy this one, you can always revisit the movies that actually made these wrinklies famous.
Most of these chaps are kinda long in the tooth and some of us had forgotten all about them. (Not me, honest gov…-ernator). So curiosity got the better of me and I took the time to look up their respective ages. Sylvester Stallone (66), Jean-Claude Van Damme (51), Dolph Lundgren (54), Chuck Norris (72), Bruce Willis (57), Arnold Schwarzenegger (65), Jet Li (49).
These guys certainly make you think on your mom’s advice concerning respecting your elders. You wouldn’t wanna sass any of these gentlemen that’s for sure. If they ever resort to public transport, my advice is: to get the hell up and give a guy a seat yo.
Jason Statham is still an up’n’coming action star. A mere babe in arms. So there was no point looking him up. He’s certainly got the moves. As for Chuck Norris: seventy-f***in’-two…WTF!? Tho’ now I come to think of it, I remember him before his career took off, taking on Bruce Lee in Way of the Dragon (1972). Ahem, obviously a repeat by the time I watched it. (Seriously. I was 10 years old man. The buggers wouldn’t let me in the cinema).
Terry Crews, Randy Couture and Liam Hemsworth: no disrespect, but you guys were further down my list. I was more interested in seeing if anyone else was gonna dislocate a hip. (I’m relieved to report that Chuck Norris’ range of motion was limited to his trigger finger). Anyway, I digress.
I would say: “I don’t wanna spoil the plot, by giving too much away“. But if you’ve seen The Expendables or indeed any of the action movies these guys were in since the 80s, then there’s not too much to give away, truth be told. Mercenaries going up against insurmountable odds (and cardboard cut-out bad guy thanks to Van Damme) and saving the day.
If it’s far away, fly there. If it’s close by, drive there. Then generally kick it, punch it, stab it, shoot it or blow it the f*** up (in no particular order). I caught this movie yesterday by way of keeping out of the sun for a few hours. Beer and popcorn were flowing and I had an excellent time. The movie opens with a mission, to get the audience warmed up; but the main mission is yet to come. 103 mins of action, so everyone gets a fair crack at dispatching bad guys, reliving the glory days and throwing out the occasional cheesy one-liner. (I caught a few Rambo, Terminator, Die Hard and Lone Wolf McQuade references. I’m sure there were more mixed in there).
Favorite scenes for me included: Jet Li’s early fight sequence (his screen time was rather limited IMHO); Statham’s (priestly robed) fight scene; Hemsworth’s prowess as a marksman (and the references to his relative youth); taking out the helicopter with a motorcycle (reminiscent of Die Hard 4.0’s use of a car. Guess they both involved a sticky accelerator/throttle); plus the general blood’n’guts (reminded me of Rambo 4, with various body parts being ballistically detached).
It’s basically an excuse to shoot sh1t, blow sh1t up, flex ya pecs and have a damn good time. I’m sure it was excellent fun for everyone involved in making this movie. Sure the acting was wooden and you could feel the struggle to make sure everyone got air time. But it was nice to see that a lot of guys got a chance to thrill fans one more time.
It’s amazing that Stallone’s still so buffed. I enjoyed the cowboy-style shoot from the hip, fanning ya gun. Van Damme got to show he can still pull off his trademark jumping-spin-kick. (That move probably has an oriental moniker, but I’m buggered if I know what it is. I’m just glad he didn’t attempt to show he can still do the splits). My focus was mainly on the hand-to-hand, as any dumb-ass can pull a trigger. But I had no problems with the quantity of ammo used and it was a damn site more believable than the old A-Team TV Series ever was. (Explosions and machine gun fire and no-one ever gets a scratch).
One of the last one-liners kinda summed it up. Stallone in reference to his ride home: “That thing belongs in a museum”. Schwarzenegger: “We all do”. It’s obvious they’re gonna take some stick as regards age and acting ability. But honestly…who gives a f***? ;o)
I’d give it a healthy 7 out of 10. Like I say, don’t take it too seriously. Just enjoy the memories it evokes and the extravagance of all the action scenes. Escapism is the name of the (movie) game after all.